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Is that a piece of wood in your pants or are you just glad to see me?

So Thursday.

I had to work late and I was going to meet a bunch of people at the local Sports Bar #113, where they would be having Karaoke. Esteban eschews karaoke, feeling embarrassed for the people who sing poorly, but he decided to meet me for dinner at #113 before the Karaoke commenced, being that I hadn’t seen him in two days due to my work schedule and his frivolity schedule.

So Esteban and I eat dinner at the sports bar/restaurant. During this time, Esteban chastises me because I sent out an email inviting only SOME of our friends to Karaoke and not all 23 friends. You see, we are part of a very tight knit ‘group’ of friends which started with a core bunch of five guys, then added myself when I started to date Esteban way back, then a few more guys added to the mix, then gradually the rest of them started adding girlfriends and the like and a few more guys got added’ now it’s really no longer classifiable as a group. I think it’s a throng. A throng or possible a melee. Maybe we’re a gang. Anyway, at one time, when it was just a small little tiny group, you always made certain that you invited everyone, but now the ‘group’ is ginornous and its nearly impossible to do group activities. Nor should it be expected, in my opinion. In the past, there have been many activities that Esteban and I have not been invited to and we have organized events where we have not invited everyone. But there’s a fine line’ for instance, if we want to do something with two couples from the group, suddenly we are the subject of hurt looks from the remaining couples in the group. Apparently, there’s a ration which must be maintained. If we do something with only one couple, we do not have to invite every couple’ but if we do something with two couples, now we really should have invited the other three married couples because they will be hurt. I wish someone would write down the rules for me.

Within the group, there are sub groups. There’s a subgroup that goes out and plays darts. There’s another subgroup that goes out to the movies together. There’s another subgroup that plays D&D. And, more recently, since Joel, Cheri & I have being going to karaoke; there is a Karaoke subgroup, consisting of the three of us plus instances where several other people have attended with us. It’s usually spontaneous, though, more or less spur of the moment. Usually we have one or two of the single guys with us and have had two of the couples with us as well. Thus, I didn’t really think about the entire dynamics of group activities when I sent an email inviting only the past Karaoke attendees to Karaoke. But apparently, the non-invited were hurt. Never mind that they always had major scorn for Karaoke in the past. Never mind that they wouldn’t want to come because it was a weeknight and they are homebodies. Instead of inviting select members, Esteban told me that it looked to everyone like I was EXCLUDING certain members of the group on purpose and it didn’t matter what the real reason was, it was how it looked to the givers of the hurt looks which was important.

So that was dinner: learning that I was now personae non grata due to my selective Karaoke inviting. Then one of the couples comes in with an additional non-‘group’ couple. They find a nice large table to sit at, but it needs to be wiped off. I plop my stuff onto a chair and then we stood there for tens of minutes, waiting for the wait staff to clean off the table. Finally, they come and begin to wipe it off and I sat down on the chair.

Pain. Seething pain in my ass. I thought that maybe I had sat upon a knife. I reached back and realized that I was actually stuck to the chair. I unhooked my clothing, but there was still pain. That’s when I felt my bottom and found a huge splinter sticking out of my butt.

I grabbed Esteban and pulled him rather reluctantly into the Ladies Bathroom, where I pulled down my pants and said, ‘Get it out!’ It hurt so badly! Esteban didn’t know what to do and was quite useless. He apparently was reliving childhood trauma by being in the women’s bathroom. He quickly snapped the splinter out and said, ‘There, it’s out’ and then fled the bathroom. I looked down at the rug, expecting to see a barbed hunk of wood the size of a drumstick’ instead an inch long piece of wood was lying there, thick as a toothpick. My ass hurt tremendously. I tried looking in the mirror to see if he had gotten it all out, but then two girls came into the bathroom, so I just hiked up my drawers and went back out.

‘Well, THAT was embarrassing.’ Esteban said, referring to being caught by the girls coming out of the Ladies Room.

‘Oh, yeah,’ I said, wincing from pain. ‘My heart bleeds for you.’

I went back and sat down, figuring that my ass would stop hurting in a bit. I looked at the chair’ a huge nick was taken out of the back of the seat’ another splinter waited to pick someone. I sat in a different chair. Later, Scott came in and did a little woodworking on the chair with his pocketknife. It bit him too’ but he got his splinter in his thumb.

I sang a few songs, but the whole time, I was feeling as though I still had subcutaneous wood going on in my ass. Cheri arrived later and I almost pulled her back into the bathroom to say, ‘Do me a favor and see if there’s something in my ass.’ But no matter how many times I mentally rehearsed that sentence, it just seemed to breach so many of the boundaries of friendship. While I’m certain Cheri would have gladly taken a look at my ass for me, undoubtedly it would give her nightmares for many nights to come.

I left and drove myself home. While the Monte is generally a smooth ride, I felt every crack and pebble on the highway. I got home and Esteban was up watching television. I ran into the bathroom and said, ‘Come and look at my ass.’ Esteban wanted me to bring my ass to him in the dark living room. ‘Don’t you think it would be better for you to look at it where it is light?’ I said, frantic from pain. Grudgingly, he got up and wandered into the bathroom where he suddenly became very interested in the backs of my calves. Now, I understand that I have some impressive calves; the point should be mentioned here that there was nothing fucking wrong with my calves and my calves were not driving me to the edge of insanity at that point. ‘LOOK AT MY FUCKING ASS GODDAMNIT!’ I screamed.

Esteban grudgingly looked. Out came the Tweezerman. Then out came a safety pin. Still nothing. Esteban confirmed however that there was a sizable piece of wood still in the skin, but he couldn’t get it and I’d have to go to the doctor.

I threw my clothing back on and jumped in the car, speeding toward the hospital. I got to the emergency room and walked to triage.

‘I’ve got a splinter stuck in my skin.’

‘In your hand?’

‘No.’ I looked back at a waiting room full of men who were watching my intently.

‘In your foot?’

‘No.’ One man was craning his neck to listen. Two guys were joking intently.

‘Where is it?’ the nurse asked crankily.

If I said it quietly, everyone would hear and then chuckle to himself. I decided to come out of the closet about my ass splinter.

‘IN MY ASS!!!’ I said loudly.

She immediately took me into the emergency room. Apparently, they do not tally with a woman with something in her ass. Wise choice because at that point, I wasn’t about to take shit from anyone. I had something in my ass and I wasn’t putting up with anything.

I lay down on my stomach on the gurney and the registration nurse came in.

‘Name?’ ‘Weetabix.’ She made a ‘I can’t find it’ face. ‘Have you been here before?’ ‘Yes’ I think they’ve got it under Esteban’s name though for some reason.’ ‘Ah yes, here it is’ she nods. That reminded me of how much that pisses me off. ‘Before I was married, I was my own person. Now, even though I am the patient and even though the insurance is in my name, my records are now under my husband’s name! That’s sexist bullshit!’ The registration lady raised her eyes at my choice of words, but then agreed with me that it was sexists. I continued to rant about subcutaneous sexism while she took my information. She probably thought I was drunk (I hadn’t touched anything other than Diet 7-up all night, so I didn’t even have the advantage of caffeine going for me).

Finally, a guy in a white coat came in. ‘This is Howard and he’ll be removing your splinter.’

Howard???? Howard??? I don’t have Dr. Somebody, I get a Howard?? How creepy is that when you’re lying on a gurney with your pierced ass up in the air with an incredibly bright spotlight shining down on it, having HOWARD pull down your pants and feel up your butt?

Howard gave me a shot of Lidocain. This is the third time I’ve had the dubious pleasure of being numbed by Lidocain and let me tell you, it sucks. Lidocain blows ass. It hurts ALMOST as much as whatever you’re having done. They stick you with that shit and the worse part is knowing that the shot hurts LESS than what they’re shooting into your skin. Luckily, eventually the stinging goes away as the area becomes numb.

Howard worked on my ass for a good fifteen minutes while Esteban held my hand and looked away. Esteban hates needles and blood and pokey things, lots of which were evident during Howard’s little venture into the Weetabix booty. In fact, at some point, I think I was holding Esteban’s hand for Esteban, not the other way around.

Finally, Howard got the splinter out. Esteban says (skip if you’ve got a squeamish stomach, but then you’ve made it this far so how bad could it be?) that Howard stuck pointy things into the splinter entry point and then lifted the skin up and slid the sliver out. I knew at the time that it had to have been bad, because Esteban squeezed my hand and cringed. Then Howard complimented me on my shapely behind and slapped a bandage on my butt. I asked for a Little Mermaid bandage but they didn’t have any.

Then I pulled my pants up and left. With a sore ass. Man, did my butt hurt! Esteban’s butt still hurts from two weeks ago and so now we’re a matching pair of pains in the ass.

The next morning, we brought my emergency room papers and little 6 millimeters long splinter to Sports Bar #113 to fill out an incident report. The manager was an ass. ‘Do you want to see what chair it was?’ ‘No, we’ll just leave another patron’s fine derriere to become pierced like a punk rocker.’ Bastard. He didn’t even say ‘Sorry’ or ‘Are you ok?’ or anything.

After stopping by the bar, we stopped at the cell phone place to get Esteban a new phone. He has actually worn his out after a year. Amazing. I waited in the car for what seemed like an eternity, and then I got out and wandered into a jewelry store. Esteban joined me later, while I was drooling over a strand of dove gray pearls.

‘Aren’t those lovely?’ I asked him, when he came in. ‘How much are they?’ He asked the weasel who was lingering nearby. Jewelry Weasel sneered at us, with our goofy comfortable clothes and unkempt appearances and told us the price, bringing them out of the case for me to take a closer look.

I put them around my neck to see what they looked like. The strand was too short for me, but they were a lovely set, I mentioned. ‘We’d have to order a longer one.’ Weasel Man said.

‘Order it.’ Esteban said.

‘Wh-wh-what?’ I was incredulous. I had just stopped in to waste time while I was waiting for Esteban. I had never intended on actually purchasing anything in the snooty jewelry store. ‘We can’t get that? Why would we get that?’

‘Order it, please.’ Esteban said again to the Weasel Man who looked uncertain.

‘It’s not a birthday present. It’s not an anniversary present. It’s not a Christmas present.’

‘It’s an ass splinter present.’ Esteban said, giving me a kiss on the nose.

I will give Esteban credit here. The fastest way to make pain forgotten is not aspirin, not codeine, not anything pharmaceutical–It’s jewelry. Fine jewelry.

A 20-inch strand of dove gray pearls delivered in two weeks, to be exact. I love my Ass Splinter present!



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